NEWS: Gear review list updated

I recently updated the gear review list accessed via the link at the top of the site, but since I have a lot of subscribers (hi subscribers!) who read the site’s content daily through feed readers but don’t actually visit the site itself, I thought I’d post the revised list here. Next time I’m feeling particularly house-cleany I’ll group the list in alphabetical order and create a few additional categories for basses and acoustics. For now though, get stuck in!!!

* = audio or video clips

Guitars
Hagstrom F-200p
Dean Soltero Standard*
Dean ML79
Carvin CT6M
Schecter Hellraiser C-1 FR
Schecter Hellraiser Solo-6
Schecter C-1 Blackjack ATX
Schecter Solo-6 Classic
Fender Jim Root Telecaster
Fender Deluxe Lone Star Stratocaster
G&L L2500
G&L ASAT Custom
G&L Legacy Special
Jackson Mark Morton Dominion
Gibson Dark Fire
Gibson Les Paul Jr Nashville
Epiphone Les Paul Ultra II
Fernandes Ravelle Deluxe Baritone
Cole Clark Guardian
First Act VE951
Taylor SolidBody Custom
Taylor T3/B*
EVH Wolfgang
ESP Michael Amott Ninja
ESP LTD EC-256
Ampeg Dan Armstrong ADA6
Sterling By Music Man AX20
Sterling By Music Man Silo20
AXL Badwater
Lag Arkane AM100 & AM1000
Baden Guitars A-Style
Baden Guitars D-Style

Amps
Carvin Legacy VL100
Carvin V3 & 412VT cabinet
Bogner Alchemist*
Krank Revolution +
Krank Rev SST
Crate V33-212
Peavey Windsor Studio
Marshall 1959RR Randy Rhoads
Ampeg J-20
Rex Bassking
Line 6 Spider Valve
Eden WTB300

Pedals
HomeBrew Electronics Paul Gilbert Detox EQ
MXR Classic 108 Fuzz
MXR M-134 Stereo Chorus
Jim Dunlop Buddy Guy Crybaby Wah
Jim Dunlop Jimi Hendrix Wah
GigFX Mega Wah
DigiTech HardWire pedals
DigiTech Whammy
DigiTech TimeBender delay
Electro-Harmonix Metal Muff With Top Boost
Xotic BB Preamp
Morley Bad Horsie 2 Contour Wah
Voodoo Labs pedal switching systems
T-Rex Twister chorus/flanger
BBE Boosta Grande
BBE Green Screamer
EvenTide TimeFactor
Roger Mayer Concorde +
Roger Mayer Metalloid
Morpheus DropTune*
Way Huge Swollen Pickle MKII Fuzz

Pickups
DiMarzio LiquiFire & Crunch Lab (John Petrucci models)*
Seymour Duncan Alternative 8
Seymour Duncan P-Rails
EMG ACS

Software
IK Multimedia AmpliTube 2*
IK Multimedia AmpliTube Fender*
Waves GTR Solo

Other
Jim Dunlop Ultex Sharp picks

REVIEW: Jackson JS30 Dinky & Kelly

Jackson’s JS30 range allows players on a budget to get their hands on a real Jackson designed and branded axe at a price that’s far more attainable than their droolworthy custom shop creations or other high end axes. I had a look at two models from the series, the Dinky and the Kelly.

The JS30DK Dinky (above) has a vaguely Strat-shaped alder body, a bolt-on maple neck, and Indian rosewood fretboard with dot position markers. While Jackson is known for its pointy sharkfin inlays, the sharp reverse headstock adds just enough of the jagged metal look for this guitar to be recognised as a Jackson despite the dot markers. There are 22 frets on the sleek, shred-approved neck.

Pickups are a pair of Jackson CVR high output humbuckers. A Floyd Rose licensed Jackson Low Profile JT580 LP double locking 2-point tremolo system is included for dive bomb freakouts.

The JS30KE Kelly (above) is the budget version of the model used by Marty Friedman during his Megadeth days. Its overall shape is reminiscent of a Gibson Explorer, but much sharper and more aggressive. Like the Dinky, this Kelly has an alder body, a bolt-on maple neck, and Indian rosewood fretboard with dot position markers, but it differs in that it has 24 frets instead of 22, and has the same two CVR humbuckers. The strings pass through the body and over a tune-o-matic style bridge. So far, so metal.

Fretwork on both guitars is of a better standard than you’d expect in this price range – good but not great. The Dinky has a slight edge on the Kelly in this regard. The Dinky’s neck also feels slightly rounder than the Kelly’s, making it bit more comfortable to play in general, while the Kelly is more of a shredder.

One would expect the string-through nature and huge body of the Kelly to have better sustain than the Dinky, but the opposite is the case: The Dinky has a gradual attack and note decay, while the Kelly is more immediate. I would use the Dinky for more flowing styles such as legato, or for Brett Garsed-style melodic lines which require more delicate phrasing. The Kelly absolutely kills as a metal axe designed for speed, because the sudden impact of each note makes for better definition for very fast passages. Thrash rhythm work especially benefits from this quality, but if you like to play speed-picked solos up and down the neck, the Kelly is your axe.

The pickups are definitely skewed towards the more aggressive end of the musical spectrum, and while each guitar has the same pickups, they seem to emphasise the differences in the two axes, instead of making them sound the same. Having said that, a guitar like this is ideal for a pickup upgrade. I’d consider an EMG 81+60 pair, a Seymour Duncan JB/59 set, or DiMarzio Breeds.

While sharing many similar accoutrements, the Kelly and Dinky are quite different guitars, and which one you should choose depends on your needs. If you’re into instrumental rock or metal requiring lots of guitar solos with complex note articulation, the Dinky is for you. If you need something to keep up with hyperspeed picking frenzies, be they rhythm or lead, the Kelly has you covered.

SPECS
BODY: Alder (both)
NECK: Maple (Dinky: 22 frets, Kelly: 24 frets)
PICKUPS: Jackson CVR
ELECTRONICS: 1 volume, 1 tone, 3-way pickup selector (both)
BRIDGE: Licensed Floyd Rose (Dinky), Tune-o-matic (Kelly)